A REAL Nurse

This article was inspired by the thread asking "Do you Tell That You're A Nurse When You Go To The Doctor Or ER?" Nurses Announcements Archive Article

A REAL Nurse

When dad was ill, my sister went to the hospital and told everyone that she was a nurse and she'd be watching them. She is a nurse -- sort of. She's a "Gucci nurse". She comes to work in her Gucci suit and her Prada heels carrying her designer handbag and her coach briefcase and sits in her corner office with the gorgeous view making policy for a chain of hospitals. She hasn't been near a patient in over 25 years (except for that time where her "fire most of the RNs and hire non-licensed personnel instead" policy caused the remaining RNs to strike . . . (she arrived to visit dad wearing $100 blue jeans, a cashmere sweater and carrying the designer handbag and coach briefcase. I'm sure that her hair and make-up were perfectly done as well. She didn't like dad's room and insisted he be moved closer to the nurse's station, and then wanted a cot installed for my mother to sleep on and the food on the trays wasn't appetizing enough and . . . . Nothing, it seemed, was good enough. She was ever so polite, I'm sure, while making it excruciatingly obvious that no one was quite as good as she, either.

I arrived a day later in rumpled jeans and sweater and bleary eyes from an overnight flight. I got to the ICU about 6 am and, having heard from my sister about the 24/7 visiting hours, went directly to the nurse's station to ask if it was a good time to visit my father, Mr. Farmer. "who is your father?" asked the nurse rather strangely. "Mr. Farmer," I said. "my sister said he was in CCU."

"Oh," she said. "I'll get your father's nurse."

And so the nurse came hesitantly out of dad's room, peering around the corner obviously looking for my always impeccably dressed and groomed sibling and seeing only rumpled, overweight and dowdy me. "Did your sister fill you in on your dad's condition?", he asked. "she says she's a nurse."

I laughed and said, as I always do when asked about what my sister does for a living, "She's a Gucci nurse." This guy didn't seem to require the explanation about the Gucci suit, designer accessories and corner office with a view.

Dad's nurse began using layman's terms and a gingerly manner, to fill me in on dad's MI. Turns out it was the "big one." I asked questions, he provided answers and before either of us quite realized how it happened, he was giving me a nurse-to-nurse report using the big words and everything. For the first time since my mother's frantic phone call that dad had chest pain and she was driving him to the hospital, I had a clear idea what was going on. I sat with dad until physician rounds started and then, out of courtesy, I got up and started gathering my things to leave. My ICU didn't encourage family to stay for teaching rounds, and I wasn't going to expect "professional courtesy."

Dad's nurse surprised me by telling me I should stay for rounds. And then he introduced me to dad's doctor. "this is Mr. Farmer's other daughter, Ruby," he said to the group. "this one's a real nurse."

I never got invited to participate in rounds again -- I was never there at the inhospitable hour of 6am again. But dad's doctors made a point of seeking me out for the "family updates" and more than once, when my sister was highly visible on the unit, called me to their offices for a private conversation. It was probably far easier to talk to me, a CCU nurse who actually understood what they were saying than to either my mother -- who was probably already sliding into dementia -- or my sister the Gucci nurse. I've often regarded that introduction -- as "a real nurse" -- one of the nicest compliments I've ever received!

Ruby Vee BSN

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This story doesn't do much to end the cutthroat culture that already exists in nursing and the us-versus-each-other environment that it perpetuates. With all the attention being given to workplace bullying and lateral violence and the need to end it, one would think that you could have come up with an article that wasn't so denigrating of another nurse.

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

thank you for your input.

Specializes in Critical Care.

I think this article illustrated a common problem: healthcare providers who aren't at the bedside and haven't practiced in years running to the ground current practitioners.

Let's face it, until more practitioners who don't work at the bedside get rid of their Gucci clothes, put on a pair of scrubs and come out of their ivory towers, nursing practice will remain fragemented and disjointed. Those who have NO IDEA what the trenches currently entail are making policy and honestly doing a poor job in formulating that policy! Real nurses don't come in and make idiot demands that make staff cringe and wish they don't have to deal with those people!

Specializes in Critical Care.

Ruby: great story. And I think it illustrates the difference in those who actually PRACTICE nursing and those who call themselves nurses. I've dealt with people who are "gucci" nurses....it's quite frustrating. They call themselves nurses but haven't seen a patient in so long they can't remember when. Which actually describes many of my former nursing instructors. It's sad that these nurses can't accept that they don't know everything and should approach staff with an attitude that isn't so difficult to deal with. I am a critical care nurse...had a friend who just delivered a baby. She told everyone I was a nurse..to which I hastily added that I work in adult critical care, I don't birth babies! Everyone thought it funny but it's true...I am out of my element in that arena. Just because I'm a nurse, doesn't mean I know how to direct care there. I wish more people remembered that.

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg.

How is your relationship with your sister? Not good I would suspect. I HATE dueling family members.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

This puts things into a much bigger picture for me--it's that the nurses who do the "real" work are less of an impediment than the Gucci nurse.

Seriously, what were her sister's priorities? The food? Really? Come on.

If I were her sister (Ruby) I'd be embarrassed that Gucci sister was unfortunately considered to be a liability more than a help.

Perhaps Gucci nurse needs to see this--because in the REAL WORLD...there are differences in nursing and what we all do--and GUCCI nurse and her types are the ones who undermine the non-Guccis of us.

Specializes in Psych , Peds ,Nicu.

Simply put it would be nice if the GUCCI nurses would come down from their ivory towers more often , to see how the troops in the trenches are doing and how they can practically help us . Rather than devising another study , another policy and yet more forms so they can find the info they want without having to find it in the chart where it's always been !.

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.
thank you for your input.

a classy response.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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Specializes in CVICU, ED.

Ruby, I really enjoyed reading your article. Thank you for posting.

Specializes in PACU, OR.

Lovely article, Ruby, I really enjoyed it. Ok, I don't have a problem with Gucci, Prada, Dior, etc etc, I'd wear $100 jeans myself if I could afford them...but seeing as that translates to about 700ZAR, PLUS import duty-yeah right, fat chance...!

Heh, heh, those poor staff members. I have to commend them for professional politeness though, I wouldn't have blamed them in the least if they had thoroughly washed their mouths out to you about your sister's performance! Just goes to show, too much money is bad for you.

Ivory tower nurses, eish! they're a pain...